Advocates Call For Sununu to Immediately Veto All Bills That Would Set Back LGBTQ+ Rights

CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Senate today voted to send another bill that would take away rights from LGBTQ+ Granite Staters to Governor Sununu’s desk, with particular harms for transgender people. 

HB 396, which rolls back some of the nondiscrimination protections passed in 2018, opening the door to discrimination in public spaces, including restrooms, will now go to Governor Sununu’s desk. In 2018 New Hampshire became the first U.S. state to pass an update to its nondiscrimination law to include transgender people through an entirely Republican-controlled State House, Senate, and Governor. 

HB 396 now joins the following bills that the NH State Senate sent to Governor Sununu’s desk last week: 

HB 1205: Bans transgender girls from playing girls’ sports from 5th grade (age 10) to 12th grade. Requires all girls to submit a birth certificate for eligibility – or provide “other evidence,” which could include genital inspection. Allows parents and students to sue their school, an opposing team’s school, the NHIAA, and the state if they believe a transgender athlete has caused them psychological, emotional, or physical harm.  

HB 1312: Requires educators to provide 2 weeks’ notice on all curriculum and materials related to gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, and identifies these topics as “objectionable material.” 

HB 619: Bans referrals for gender-affirming healthcare for transgender patients under 18 years old, which disregards parents’ rights to direct the health care of their child. 

LGBTQ+ rights, public education, and child welfare advocates gave the following statements:

Linds Jakows, Founder of 603 Equality, said, “When New Hampshire became the first entirely Republican-controlled state to say that transgender people should live free from discrimination, there was no asterisk. No qualifier. Governor Sununu said it was simply ‘the right thing to do.’ Just because certain members of the NH State Senate have chosen to abandon the values they held in 2018, does not mean Governor Sununu will. LGBTQ+ people and those who know and love us are urging a swift veto of these mean-spirited bills that are based in misinformation. When we say ‘live free or die’ we mean everyone.” 

Sarah Robinson, Education Justice Director, Granite State Progress, said, “The families I work with want freedom and safety for all of their children, whether or not they are transgender. If we are to build a state where we create real solutions to real problems, like making sure every student has access to a fully-funded, honest and inclusive education, we must recognize that certain politicians have chosen to create a false moral panic around transgender young people. Let’s not open the door –even a crack– to discrimination against transgender people in public spaces.” 

Christina Warriner, New Hampshire State Director of Reproductive Equity Now, said, “Reproductive equity not only calls on us to fight for reproductive health care access for all, but also demands that we protect bodily autonomy and the right to self-determination of gender identity. Every person must have the ability to make dignified decisions about their bodies, lives, and futures. Governor Sununu must veto these devastating bills that stand in stark opposition to New Hampshire’s values of freedom and dignity.”

Chris Erchull, Attorney, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), said, “All New Hampshire residents deserve lives that are free from discrimination, harassment and violence. By singling out transgender Granite Staters for unfair treatment, the legislature has betrayed this bedrock value and voted to introduce discrimination into New Hampshire’s laws. Governor Sununu, who has stood up for a fair and inclusive state in the past must do so again now by vetoing HB 396 and all bills targeting LGBTQ people that come to his desk.”

Deb Howes, President AFT-NH “All of our students have the right to feel safe and welcome in our public schools. It is so incredibly discouraging to see the current slim majority in the State Legislature pass HB 396 to roll back non-discrimination protections guaranteeing equal treatment for all Granite Staters when it comes to public accommodations. This bill must be vetoed so that all Granite State students can access their constitutionally guaranteed robust public education free from discrimination.

Courtney Reed, Policy Advocate at the ACLU of New Hampshire, said, “Today is another grim day in New Hampshire. Nobody wins when we try to make discrimination law. HB 396 undermines the right to equal protection under the law for transgender people – and we urge Governor Sununu to veto this dangerous bill once it reaches his desk, keeping in tradition that the Granite State respects the rights of LGBTQ+ people.” 

Devan Quinn, Director of Policy at the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation, said, “Transgender, nonbinary, and intersex people deserve equitable treatment in school, athletics, corrections, and all other facets of public life. These pieces of legislation will move us backwards from the progress New Hampshire has made in recognizing transgender people in nondiscrimination law. Transgender women are women, and trans girls are girls. Like all women and girls, they deserve to be treated fairly in all aspects of their lives.”

Keith Kuenning, Advocacy Director for Waypoint said, “We are saddened today by the Senate’s passage of HB 396. All New Hampshire’s residents deserve the right to feel comfortable and safe regardless of their gender identity or where they are, whether using a bathroom, locker room, or participating in sports. Today’s vote rolls back critically important non-discrimination protections New Hampshire worked so hard to put in place in 2018. We trust that the Governor will continue to do the right thing, as he did in 2018, and veto this bill to ensure protections for all of the people in New Hampshire.”

Liz Canada, Advocacy Director for Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund, said, “Against the will of Granite Staters who have long believed in personal freedom and civil liberties, politicians in New Hampshire’s legislature have now sent no less than four anti-LGBTQ+ bills to Governor Sununu’s desk. 

Make no mistake: a vast majority of Granite Staters support an individual’s right to bodily autonomy, privacy from government interference in health care decisions, and the ability to live free and authentically.

When Governor Sununu signed a bill protecting transgender Granite Staters from discrimination just a few years ago, he said that discrimination ‘runs contrary to New Hampshire’s Live Free or Die spirit.’ We urge Governor Sununu to remember his own words this week, veto these four bills, and continue New Hampshire’s long history of supporting LGBTQ+ individuals.”